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The Herd Effect

Prospecting in Uncertain Times

I like nature shows. Our planet fascinates me, and the shots captured in these shows are truly stunning. Recently, I watched a segment on Caribou migration and marveled at the massive herds formed by these animals. Caribou travel in herds because it increases their chance of survival. Plain and simple. In a herd, individual members benefit from the group for many reasons including help in finding food and protection from predators. Talk about safety in numbers. Although we humans don’t form herds, we are certainly drawn to the benefits associated with them and our actions can often be influenced by the “Herd Effect.”

To explain the Herd Effect, I want you to think of the first time you ate sushi? How did you feel right before trying sushi for the first time? I know I was nervous and a little grossed out. Sushi was new me and I didn’t understand it. All I knew was that it was raw and that scared me, but I did try it and now I like sushi. So, what emboldened me to take the leap and try this culinary oddity? Ultimately, it was proof that others had tried it, liked it and most importantly, survived the experience. In other words, this proof provided me that same “safety in numbers” feeling that exists in a herd. Apparently, millions of others had the same reaction as sushi is now wildly popular and offered everywhere from fine dining restaurants to gas stations.

So, what does this have to do with sales?

The Herd Effect is an effective tool you can use when prospecting. It is especially important and effective in times of uncertainty as people are looking to mitigate risk and respond to new challenges. Think about your prospect’s operating reality in times of economic uncertainty. What do they need or want from us?

To uncover these answers, you must ask questions like these:

  • How can I solve my prospect’s unique challenges?

  • How can I offer stability in a time of uncertainty?

  • What can I do to increase my prospect’s profitability?

Once you identify answers to these questions, leverage the Herd Effect to show that you can deliver on them. Offer that same “safety in numbers” idea to your prospect and you’ll find a more receptive audience. Consider these three uses of the herd effect the next time you reach out to a prospect.

1. Use Client Testimonials

This is a great way to ease your prospect’s fears associated with trying something new. Prospecting is the simple act of asking someone to trust you. A client testimonial helps build that trust in the form of proof that someone else trusted you and ultimately benefited from the relationship.

2. Seek out referrals

You are not part of your prospect’s herd. Therefore, you represent a possible threat. A referral, however, is someone your prospect knows and hopefully trusts. In other words, a referral is a part of your prospect’s herd and can open a door that would normally be much harder for you to open.

3. Back your claims with data

If you can solve your prospect’s unique challenges, you’ve got to prove it. Do this by sharing research studies, industry trends, as well as specific numbers backing your product or service.

We all feel the need to be a part of the herd. It provides security, protection and lessens the fears associated with uncertainty. The Herd Effect is a powerful driving force and can have a positive impact on your prospecting efforts. Prospecting best practices and proven processes are offered through our Virtual Training options. Tap into your prospect’s operating reality, uncover their true needs and wants and let them know they are not alone.

Contact us to learn more about our custom training to strategize the 90 days, stay ahead of the competition, and build back better!


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